Myanmar is known as one of the strongest buddhist countries all over the world, predominantly in the Theravada tradition. There is a high rate of monks and the lands culture is deeply affected by buddhism. Meditation is part of burmese culture. Hence it’s not a surprise, that we think about another meditation retreat. The conditions seem to be quite similar all over the meditation centers: 10 days minimum stay, around ten hours of daily vipassana practice, noble silence, two meals a day and no food after noon until the next morning. We are not really sure if we are fit enough to follow these rules and the related schedule, but we also don’t want to miss the opportunity. So we decide to apply for a ten days stay at a meditation center in a small town north of Yangon. The application is quite easy, we just called the main center in Yangon and everything else starts from there.
Chanmyay Yeiktha Meditation Center is mainly for practicing Vipassana meditation but it’s also a monastery with monks and nuns located in Hmabwi. It’s open for Myanmar meditators but foreigners are welcome too. Men and Women are separated from each other and all practitioners are admonished to keep noble silence during their stay as talking is supposed to be the greatest hindrance for concentration and insight. It was founded by Chan Myay Yeiktha Sayadaw U Janaka. The teaching is done by one of his disciples Sayadaw U Kitti who is also the abbot of the center. More details can be found at http://chanmyaysayadaw.org/.
Our schedule for the next ten days is the following:
04:00 – wake up
04:30 – sitting and walking meditation
05:45 – breakfast
07:00 – cleaning room
08:00 – sitting and walking meditation
10:30 – lunch and rest
12:00 – sitting and walking meditation
16:00 – juice break
16:30 – sitting and walking meditation
21:30 – rest
Foreigners have the possibility to listen to english Vipassana instructions held by Sayadaw U Janaka recorded some years ago. Every second day there is an interview with the teaching monk about our experiences and meditation progress. For the whole time Seven and I stay separated and we make sure that we don’t distract each other.
Everyone of us has his own experiences during the retreat and it’s hard to put this into words, but what we really know is, it is an rewarding experience and more than worth the effort and struggle you sometimes have to deal with. Everything for your comfort, like food and accommodation, is well prepared to make sure you can concentrate on your meditation practice. We appreciate that a lot. Thank you again for all that support.
Ten intense days pass by quite fast and it’s time to explore Myanmar’s north. Lets immerge into daily life’s madness again!